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ADPH: Alabama leading the country with highest COVID-19 positivity rate

State Health officer Dr. Scott Harris says that some counties in Alabama have more than 40% of it’s COVID-19 tests coming back positive..

“Clearly we are going to be taxing our hospital capacity in a way we have never seen before,” said Dr. Harris.

Hospitalizations could surpass Alabama’s all-time high in the next 3 or 4 days according to Dr. Harris.

He said almost 2,400 people are in the hospital and only around 5 % of ICU beds are available statewide.

“Many facilities particularly in the southern part of the state do not have any ICU beds at this time,” he said.

Dr. Harris said hospitals are requesting daily for federal help because they’re running out of room to care for patients.

“It’s incredibly serious. We are seeing many requests from hospitals to transport patients who have nothing to do with COVID-19 just because of capacity,” said Dr. Harris.

Alabama Gulf EMS System Executive Director David Garmon says some patients in our area have had be flown to different states for a hospital bed.

In one case, he says a patient was sent to Kentucky.

“We had some critical patients non COVID, just critical patients that literally we had to put on planes and fly to multiple states within the southeast just to find a bed because there are no beds closer than 2 or 3 states away,” said Garmon.

Healthcare officials are hopeful for a Disaster Declaration that will loosen restrictions for transport services and hospitals for treatment.

NBC 15 asked Dr. Harris Thursday if that was in the works.

“Yes, absolutely. Ultimately, it’s a decision the governor will have to make. We are trying to provide all of the available information on that. Health care institutions have written and made requests on that,” said Dr. Harris.

When asked about it Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey said, the vaccine was the answer.

“The weapon we have that works with COVID is to get vaccinated,” she said.

Dr. Harris says vaccinations are rising but not near enough.

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